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6 Steps For Entrepreneurs To Find Product-Market Fit (without overthinking it)

Growing a business is hard.
Selling your own art is hard.
Working a tasking 9-5 is hard.
Starting a side-hustle is hard.
Selling engineering solutions is hard.

Choose you hard and keep it moving.

I remember frequent early morning flights out of Austin’s airport, as an engineer, on the way to a client’s factory. I’d unwrap a breakfast taco, eat two.

Then head over to the convenient store just beside my American Airline gate, grab a copy of the magazine – Entrepreneur or Inc.

On the flight, I’d read through the stories, telling myself – I can do what these people are doing.

If I can do hard engineering, install neural network controllers at factories – how hard can running a business be, right?


3 years after quitting that “hard” engineering job. I sat at my desk, in my make-shift office next to my bedroom, wondering: “geeezz, sales is hard. I’d rather deal with some thermodynamic equations right now. I don’t know what to do with these rejection-fueled emotions.”

I had heard “no” so many times, I thought it was a new greeting.

It took me numerous reps to realize that generating sales for a business is one of the most difficult things to do (especially if that business is yours).

But it’s easier with a process.

Not my problem!

Most of us are self-obsessed.

That’s why some of us go to start businesses. You want to be your own boss. You want to call your own shots. Unfortunately, with this attitude, you end up only thinking about yourself.

And this is ultimately…bad for business.

It’s amazing how many people want to build a business that’s not centered around solving an actual problem.

With your business idea, at some point you are going to have to ask someone to buy your solution.

To get there you need curiosity and empathy to be able to address your customer’s pain points.

It starts by asking questions.

You are one discovery call away from your business goals.

Booking discovery calls to grow your business

Everything I am describing here is from personal experience.

There are several other ways to approach this. I’m only sharing what has worked to jumpstart my business and start getting sales when you start from zero.

With this approach, you’ll have a system you can use to begin learning about your future customers, validate your ideas, and generate sales for your business.

Here we go:

1. Create a list

Who do you ideally want to help?

This group of people might change as you progress but make an assumption and create a list of 100 people.

When I first did this, I found an organization offering the same service I had in mind but for a different market.

I got on their website and found the companies they had served, created a list of companies, then got on LinkedIn to find people within that organization in charge of the African market (which was my target).

Create a spreadsheet with 100 people.

Good tool for this: ​LinkedIn Navigator​.

2. Get contact information

You need a way to get in contact.

I’ve found email to be the best. You can send out direct messages on LinkedIn and X. You can ask for an intro (this has a higher response rate but limited reach). But to get the scale you want, you will need to fly solo and reach out to as many people as possible.

There are two options:

  1. Pay for a tool that verifies email addresses based on person name and company name.
  2. Pay someone to find these emails for you. You can find a lead generation specialist on ​upwork​ for instance.

Find the one that’s more cost effective. I had a lead generation specialist that got me emails at 60 cents per lead.

For 100 emails, that’s $60.

Definitely worth the investment.

3. Send the 21-second email

Most people check their emails daily.

But just like you, they are probably bombarded with a bunch of emails.

Since your email is going to be in a sea of emails, and most people can only spare less than 30 seconds from someone they don’t know, you have to be tactical about it.

Here’s the approach.

  • Subject line: This is your opportunity to get them interested in your email. It’s the invitation to open. Make it sound beneficial (The KPI here is open rate)
  • Personalize: One of the most important ways to build rapport with anyone is to mention their name. Don’t just say “hey there”
  • First line: Imagine walking up to someone at a conference and you just start talking about your business. Don’t do it. Be human. This first line is a 2-second opportunity to say this is how we know one another (“I saw your post on LinkedIn about AI agents.” “I heard your podcast on energy.” “We’re alumni of the same school.” )This is a pro-level tip. Most people don’t do this. It increases your reply rate.
  • Second line: This is your 5-second opportunity to tell them why they should keep reading. Tell them how you will be beneficial. If you are reaching out to a business developer or owner, it’s most likely helping them grow their business, improve profits, or save time.
  • “The how”: Mention how you’d help them get there. Best way to do this is in three bullet points. It helps make your email skimmable.
  • Call-to-action: Last step, ask if they have 20 minutes to get on a call with you. Make sure you end your email with a question mark (?)

Tools to use: ​Hubspot​ or ​Instantly​

4. Make sure you book the call

Rookies don’t take charge.

They wait for their prospect to tell them their availability.

Don’t do it.

Make it a very binary decision. Once you get a response that they are interested in a call. Ask for a very specific time and date: “Does 2pm on Tuesday work for you?”

Why is this important? You force them to say that time is good or not.

If they say yes: schedule the meeting. If they say no: then offer a calendar link to make it easy for them to choose.

Remember, you are trying to get them to do something, so make it easy.

Be the person that books the call.

Tool: Use ​calendly​

5. Ask these 5 questions

Once you get on a call.

Your main goal here is to be curious.

Tell them who you are and what you’re building, then switch into diagnosis mode.

Here are the five questions I usually ask:

  1. What are your goals for next year?
  2. What are the main challenges from hitting that goal?
  3. How’s it impacting your business?
  4. If you could get an ideal solution, what would it be?
  5. How does that solution benefit you?

You should be able to get through this in 30 minutes or less. Keep it conversational.

Have 25 interviews like this and you should be able to find some themes to build and refine the value proposition for your business.

6. Measure and repeat

This is a continuous process.

From your list of 100 people:

  • You might get 20% (20% reply rate is good).
  • Half of those people might say “let’s talk”, the other half might say “get lost”. (You’ll be fine, rejection is part of the process)
  • Out of the 10 people interested, you might book 7 people.

So quick math: If you want to chat with 25 people, you need a total list of about 350 people. So go create a new list of 250 people.

But this time, look at the 7 people that booked and see if it can help you create a more thoughtful list.

Final thoughts

You are not your ideal customer.

Sometimes you have an idea of what your customer wants and that’s a good starting point but you have to lead with curiosity to find out.

Create your list, find contact info, craft email copy and send, book the call (please get that booking), and interview your prospects.

This is an iterative process and it all starts with curiosity, empathy, and biasing towards action.

Wishing you growth.

Yours truly, Nifemi

P.S. Whenever you’re ready to grow your business with strategic sales and want to get tactical, here’s how I can help: Book a free 1:1 coaching session with me to get a customized system for your business growth.

Who is Nifemi?

Hey I’m Nifemi of NapoRepublic

I help busy people fit in a creative practice to bring to bring order to their reality and help them live a more meaningful life through writing and reflection.

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